3 New and Noteworthy Parkinson Ideas

April 15, 2015
Alisa G. Woods, PhD

Deep brain stimulation, stem cell treatment, studying mitochondria-to mark Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we review some noteworthy new concepts.

Deep brain stimulation could provide effective treatment for patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Stem cell treatment could shepherd new therapeutic approaches. Studying mitochondria could enhance understanding of the disease.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, we review some noteworthy new studies and thoughts on PD treatment.


Turn the pages to find out more:


Deep Brain Stimulation in PD: How Does It Work?

• Deep brain stimulation (DBS) increasingly is being used for treatment of patients with several neurological conditions, including PD. The mechanism behind DBS is not well-understood.

• A recent study focused on cortical neurophysiological recordings in patients with PD using basal ganglia implanted DBS.

• The researchers found cortical synchronization in the patients.

• They proposed that basal ganglia DBS has effects on motor cortex neuronal synchronization, which could underlie its positive effects in PD.

New Mouse PD Model of Stem Cell Treatment

• Mouse models of stem cell treatment for PD have been successful, although tumor growth can be an adverse effect.

Researchers in Rio de Janeiro have treated mouse embryonic stem cells with the antimitogen mitomycin C (MMC) to help address this problem.

• After treating cultured cells with MMC, the researchers transplanted them into nude mice and studied the animals for 12 weeks, during which no tumor formation occurred.

• In mouse models of PD, with 6-OH-dopamine-lesioned in the substantia nigra, MMC-treated stem cells improved motor function when injected into the striatum.

• The cells actually produced more dopamine because of the MMC treatment.

• MMC treatment of stem cells could help prevent tumor formation and could be a strategy used with stem cell treatment of patients with PD.

Understanding PD: Mitochondria May Hold the Key

• Mitchondria are distributed in neurons according to energetic needs and may be disturbed in disease.

• Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan studied how mitochondria are distributed in Purkinje cells of the cerebellum.

• Interrupting mitochondrial transport in the dendrites of Purkinje cells disturbs their growth.

• The researchers rescued the lack of mitochondria and disturbed dendritic growth by activating ATP-phosphocreatine exchange via creatine kinase (CK) and inhibiting CK-disrupted dendrite development.

• The study results could have implications for diseases, such as PD, that are characterized by disturbed neuronal cytoskeleton. CK may treat and reverse disturbed neurons.


• Deep brain stimulation could be effective for PD, and a new study describes how.

• A mouse PD model of stem cell treatment could pave the way for new therapeutic approaches in humans.

• Studying mitochondria and their effect on dendrites could enhance understanding of diseases such as PD. A recent report explains why.

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